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Dec 18th
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From the Editor

greg_archerPlus Letters to the Editor


I think it was Rosanne Cash that said, “The key to change is to let go of fear.” I like that. But we’re complex humans, after all. Sometimes maybe it’s OK to have both—the change and the feeling that we typically want to avoid: fear. Actually, I propose we already feel the fear we’re wanting to bolt away from. In my interviews with acclaimed author and one-time local, Geneen Roth, I’ve discovered that there is a wild bit of empowerment that takes place the moment you step into that thing you so habitually want to avoid dealing with.

This makes the issue of the La Bahia apartments in Beach Flats and the proposed 125-room hotel that would replace them, such a rich matter. It’s something we explore in-depth in this week’s cover story.  More specifically, we note that the project’s future seems to be resting on whether the Coastal Commission makes a final approval on it this summer. After watching the project evolve for more than a decade, and having looked at many sides of the issues—for and against it, GT opted to do something different with our cover story package. We decided to take a stand. So, this week, we suggest that the La Bahia venture, one that would boost economic growth locally, among other things, gets the green light it has been searching for. Why are we doing this? There are moments—and they are rare—when one is offered an opportunity where weighing in on an important matter has the potential to generate positive change, overall. Typically, GT presents the facts and offers readers informational material about any number of matters on the county and city, which we report on in our news section or in our cover stories. But there is something unique about La Bahia, its future, and the possibilities it could hold for Santa Cruz, that sparked our interest. We felt it would be beneficial to speak up about it outside of our opinion pages. That said, beginning on page 14, we offer our take on the issue and highlight a number of positive reasons why we believe in it. But your feedback is vital, too. And we welcome you to be part of the discussion. Continue to send us your thoughts on the matter. In the meantime, read on ...

And thanks for reading.

More next time ...

Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief


Letters to the Editor

H20, You Know?
Thanks for the recent interesting articles on alternatives to a water desalination plant (GT 2/24). While it was valuable to learn about how our water consumption is now 30 percent lower than the projections that desal proponents are basing their claims on, there are even more alternative sources available in addition to the increased conservation and water swap/banking with Soquel Creek Water District that were mentioned. These other options would also cost a fraction of desal in dollars as well as global warming impacts from the energy use required.
These include: 1) Gray Water (water that has been used for showers or laundry) which was not legal at the time of the water assessment and thus needs to now be considered. 2) Offsetting of new demand created by development as presently required by the Soquel Creek Water District: A 120 percent requirement produces new water and causes the developers of large projects and/or the University to fund the cost of providing their water supply, not placing the burden on the existing ratepayers. 3) Recycling: This source was rejected as unfeasible by the water assessment. 
However, it seems to work for many of our neighbors and the "only desal works" mentality seems to be unwilling to reconcile with the fact that Castroville, Watsonville, Scotts Valley and San Jose are presently and successfully using this technology. In fact, it is working so well in San Jose that they recently approved upping to 20 percent their existing 10 percent recycled water usage. The ratepayers of our area deserve an impartial analysis of our water situation using current statistics, not ones from a year 2000 assessment , and an honest analysis to all alternatives. If the City still wants to do desal after this thorough unbiased study, they should have enough respect for the democratic process to put it on the ballot and let the
people decide what water source they prefer.
Fred Geiger
Santa Cruz

Time to Get a Ballot Measure Going
In the face of California’s unprecedented fiscal crisis, Governor Brown has proposed $12.5 billion across-the-board cuts in programs serving Californians. An additional $12.5 billion in program cuts will be necessary to balance California’s budget if voters do not extend existing revenue sources which are set to expire on June 30. By March 10 the legislature must authorize a ballot measure to give Californians a choice to support the extension of this funding. 
Please contact your legislators and urge them to put the revenue extensions on the June ballot. In particular, if you are a constituent of Senator Sam Blakeslee (15th SD), (916) 651-4015, please reach out to him with this request, and if you have access to other Republican legislators, including Senator Anthony Cannella (12th SD), (916) 651-4012, please do the same. For further information, please contact me at (831) 728-8250 ext. 1005 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Sara Clarenbach J.D.
Director of Advocacy, Community Engagement /Salud Para La Gente
Best of The Online Comments

On the ‘Desal Plant
Did anyone catch that little article of the Land Conservancy of Santa Cruz (guess, who's on the board—come on, guess) in the Senile [sic] a few days ago all skewed to arguing for a desal plant. Of course, it was their STRONG opinion that this was the only way to go.
Anny

On the ‘Don Lane/Dan Kriege’s Desal Column
I notice that the only number in your whole typically rambling op-ed is "100,000 people". Show me the real water numbers and facts, and then let me decide by putting the desal plant on the ballot. As Gov. Jerry Brown, from your own party, said just the other day, "Putting it on the ballot doesn't mean that you are for or against it. It means that you trust the citizens to decide." Don't you trust the citizens Mr. Lane?
Keven

On ‘Herbal Outfitters
Congrats to the Happy High Herb Shop! I have been a HHH customer in Australia for 18 years! Ray Thorpe is truly a visionary. Santa Cruz, you are so lucky to have this shop in your neighborhood! Let's support this new local business folks, and get in there and enjoy the ambience and fun! Go Happy High Herbs, thanks for continuing to grow and prosper!
Moo



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